London Can Take It (aka Britain Can Take It)

Date: 1940
Director: Humphrey Jennings
Production Company: GPO film Unit, Ministry of Information

Stars: Unknown but possibly included Quentin Reynolds who was the narrator
Location(s): London



The London Blitz, a semi documentary British propaganda film made in WWII.

Additional Information:

These grabs were the last that Brian Tunstill made, he died in February 2011.

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If you have any information regarding this film, any of the stills, or even better, some NOW shots please contact us.

An air-raid warden, a London street, with trees and porticoes, Paddington, Kensington, Victoria, Pimlico?

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None of those, Jules Ballantyne found the street to be Upper Belgrave Street, London SW1 and with the aid of Google even homed in on No 9. (RL) This also covers lcti003

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The same, or a similar street, or square.

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As 001.

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Probably one of the lanes in the City of London, the square mile.

Corner of Penfold Street NW1 and maybe Drogarson ? Street, just off the Edgware Road.

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Corner of Penfold and Orchardson Streets, and the repaired brickwork has a different, lighter, colour.

King William Street, with London Bridge in the background.

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Peter took this shot from ground level noticing the rebuilding south of the bridge.

Distinctive Victorian windows.

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Not sure why the bus was on diversion, perhaps the road in front of the Carerras, the Black Cat cigarette factory was blocked. Harrington Square, Mornington Crescent, London NW. The piece above the car was destroyed and the part above the woman is where the Luftwaffe parked the bus!

The ink was hardly dry when Roy Barnacle sent in this excellent pic and identified it as Harrington Square, Mornington Crescent, North London.

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Another view.

After all the years Denis Hoare is able to set our records right. That side of Harrington Square had 38 houses. According to the LCC Bomb Damage Maps Nos: 33 and 34 were totally destructed. The bus is therefore against No 35. When the war was over Nos: 25 to 38 were demolished and Hurdwick House (an apartment block) was built. (RL)

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Denis provides this Google extract. The bus would have been circa the street light. (RL)

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The train on the bombed viaduct is a Southern Railway Electric Multiple Unit that looks like type 2NOL and it is carrying a ‘Bar P’ stencil code on the front.This code means that it would have been travelling over one of the following sections of railway. Passenger Trains: Holborn Viaduct - West Croydon via Herne Hill, Tulse Hill, Wimbledon, St Helier and Sutton, Waterloo - Wimbledon via East Putney, Cannon St or Charring Cross - Gillingham via Blackheath and Charlton, Cannon St or Charring Cross - Maidstone West via Blackheath and Charlton (as far as Gravesend only), Dartford - Charing Cross via Charlton and Blackheath Empty Trains: Victoria - Crystal Palace Low Level, Waterloo - Hampton Court or Shepperton via East Putney, Wimbledon Park Sidings - Wimbledon Park, Purley - Tattenham Corner empties (Race Special); Dorking North - Durnsford Road Depot; Special Trains: Hampton Court or Shepperton - Waterloo via East Putney If the type of train is 2NOL then it is likely to be working over the Waterloo to Wimbledon line. (PW)

No 6 Oxford Street, with Horne Brothers next door. So one assumes Tottenham Court Road end.

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Confirmed and pic from Adrian Grepnold.

Probably the City, a J Lyons and Co Ltd teashop in the background. “Joe” Lyons had tea shops all over London. This is just a few doors further west from lcti09 along Oxford Street (north side). The larger building on the far left with classical detailing was in more recent times the Virgin Megatore and the last time I checked a fashion retailer called Hyper Hyper. Andrew Fisher

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Confirmation and pic from Adrian Grepnold.

The Monument to the Fire of London, Monument Street, Pudding Lane, near London Bridge.

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Same rounded corner, repaired, on the left.

Imposing angled corner building, with good and identifiable architectural detail. This view is looking towards the north-east corner of Oxford Circus. The bus is turning east out of Regent Street. The large angled building was then the Peter Robinson department store, now occupied by Niketown on the corner and Top Shop in the right hand section with the distinctive large, deep windows at the upper floors. Andrew Fisher.

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Confirmation and pic by Adrian Grepnold.

Trafalgar Square from Whitehall.

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And the equestrian statue of King Charles was saved by sand-bagging in the "shed".

Probably Park Crescent, top of Portland Place near the Regent’s Park.

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Somerset House?

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Yes, and with the hole fixed.

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A London Transport pick-up point for the evacuation?

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Another one with distinctive chimneys and a short pitched roof.

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A tram passing left, Joe Hare has a stall and Bill Lucas, Lewisham? Market, Snack Bar behind.

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Hovis (bread) advert, long straight street, with a pitched roof on the left and distinctive curled street lamps.

1930’s style council flats, and a church. Denis Hoare adds to his "now" shot: "The rubble in the foreground is of the Phoenix pub, hit by the second of 3 bombs dropped the previous night. The rubble from the 3rd bomb can be seen in the background in Orchardson St. The first of the 3 bombs dropped behind where the camera is, hit a shelter killing 31 people inside. (This was NOT shown in the documentary.). The "church" was actually a school and it too was bombed a short time after the film was made.". (RL)

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Denis Hoare tells us that the filming was done from the balcony outside No. 19 Stanfield House, Frampton St. NW8 on 25th October 1940. His family lived there ( He was born there later) and his father stood next to Quentin as co-Director Humphrey Jennings filmed the scene. This shot taken by Denis in 2017 looks onto the courtyard, with Orchardson St. on the right leading to Edgware Road. (RL)

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Variety of styles on the left, a sign above which says SABEY, a chimney stack and a good lamp-post. What more do you want?

The Dutch Boy Laundry, the lower sign seems to say 71a General - Gonnie Lane -Drapers, or is it - Sophie Lane -? Christopher Matheson writes; The 1941 Kelly's Street Directory lists 'Lane, S (Mrs), laundry' at 71a Ethelred Street, SE11. That building was on the east side of the street and probably close to Lambeth Walk. The whole area has been rebuilt and the street no longer exists.

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Same name and same address, incredible bit of sleuthing on Chris's part. Wonder if the Lambeth archives hold pictures of this street prior to demolition? Or even the GLC Fire Brigade archive?